Ringgit fall others' fault but never PM's, says Azmin

Modified 15 Aug 2015, 3:03 am

Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali has slammed Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak for blaming others but not himself for the ringgit's plunge in value against the US dollar.

Commenting on Najib's statement yesterday that "… the existence of political play and intense speculation has resulted in an uncertain sentiment towards the administration", Azmin said this was clearly aimed at pointing the blame on the ringgit fiasco on others but not on the premier.

"The prime minister must stop pulling wool over the people’s eyes concerning the causes for the ringgit’s plunge which has made it Asia’s worst-performing currency this year," the Selangor menteri besar said in a statement today.

Azmin ( photo ), who is also PKR deputy president, pointed out Najib had failed to mention that the "uncertain sentiment" was very much linked to the financial scandal, in relation to the RM2.6 billion purportedly transferred into the prime minister's  personal accounts.

Apart from this, the appearance of "collusion and conspiracy" at high places to interfere with the independent investigations of the task force, the disbanding of the PAC, and the obstruction of the MACC in its investigations are the major factors compounding the negative perceptions on the country’s leadership, said Azmin.

Admitting that adverse external circumstances are partly responsible, such as the decline in commodity prices including oil, the anticipated increase in the US interest rates, and the ongoing depreciation of the Chinese yuan, Azmin however pointed out that these factors were affecting other currencies in the region as well.

"The question is, why is our ringgit the hardest hit among all the major regional currencies?

"The prime minister must therefore stop this charade of pretending that it is business as usual and that he can continue to lead the nation out of this mess by merely dismissing his deputy and appointing new ministers to shore up support for him," said Azmin.

'Don't interfere in Bank Negara'

"No one is fooled by his grandstanding and press relations soundbites. The ringgit is likely to remain weak so long as political uncertainties continue.

"The perception is that nothing short of major changes in leadership and the political equation can halt the slide as well as save us from the brink of national disaster," said Azmin

Despite Najib's assurance last night that efforts would be made to address the country's sliding currency, the ringgit today has seen a sharp plunge.

As of 11.10am, the ringgit stood at RM4.1223 to one US dollar, a decline of 2.3 percent from the opening index.

This is down from a high of RM3.1415 to a US dollar in the last year.

On Bank Negara governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz's ( photo ) 'emergence' from her 'sudden disappearance', Azmin told the government to stop interfering with her duties.

"Regardless of the supposed approval given by the governor to question her officers, we condemn the unwarranted exercise of such powers which, under the circumstances, was tantamount to interfering in the then ongoing Bank Negara investigation," he said.

Zeti yesterday confirmed that seven Bank Negara officers had been probed by the police so far for purportedly leaking information from its investigations on the 1MDB issue.

This followed police investigation and raids against seven MACC officers over the same issue. The investigation has since been suspended.

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